12 Secrets You Didn’t Know About Splash Mountain

Everyone loves Splash Mountain for different reasons: the classic songs, the Br’er critters, or the 52.5-foot drop at the end! It has become a tradition for many families who have traveled to Disney over the years.

This Frontierland attraction opened July 17, 1989, at Disneyland, California. Splash Mountain was brought to Walt Disney World in October 1992 because of its success! Whether it’s scorching hot or shivering cold outside, Guests love riding through the Southern bayou all day long.

With Splash Mountain being a favorite attraction to many, here are 12 fun facts about Splash Mountain that you probably didn’t know!

Many of the Characters in Splash Mountain were Repurposed

America Sings was an attraction at Disneyland that came out in 1974. The attraction had many animatronic animals that sang songs and entertained guests. America Sings replaced the Carousel of Progress, which had moved to Magic Kingdom. The attraction was a lot like Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree, where the animatronics would sing and tell funny jokes. There was an incident with the ride and the attraction was closed down in 1988.

After the closing of America Sings, Disney’s Imagineering Team used the animatronics from the ride and repurposed them to be used for the new Splash Mountain ride. It was perfect timing with one attraction closing and one being built for Disney to make great use of the props!

Splash Mountain was Thought Up in Traffic

The creator of Splash Mountain, Tony Baxter, said he thought up the idea of Splash Mountain In 1983 while stuck in traffic. While on his way to work, the Disney Imagineer said he was thinking of a way to lure guests to the Bear Country land in Disneyland, which was often left empty. Country Bear Jamboree was the only attraction in the area along with one gift shop. Imagineers had talked for years about adding a log flume ride to the theme park and with the unused animatronics from America Sings, Tony Baxter thought the idea would work great! He was right the ride became a huge hit to guests, who immediately loved the ride, which has now been expanded to three Disney Theme Parks!

An Expensive Endeavor

Splash Mountain’s began being built in April 1987. The budget for the attraction was $75 million, which at the time was the most expensive project Disney had done. All of Disneyland cost around $17 million to make in 1955, so it was a huge project that was a large amount of money even for Disney! So, reusing the animatronics was a great way to save some money on the project!

Splash Mountain is Themed After a Film

Splash Mountain is based on the Disney Movies Song of the South. This movie came out in 1946 and has had its fair share of controversies over the years. Splash Mountain has the same characters, songs, and locations as Song of the South.

This movie won multiple Academy Awards, even one for the song Sip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, but has received much scrutiny for the films use of racism and talks about slavery. The NAACP came out and said the movie is a “dangerously glorified picture of slavery”. Disney has tried to remove themselves from any ties to the movie, and it has never come out on DVD or Disney+.

Splash Mountain Got Its Name from a Different Film

While the thrilling log flume ride is based on Song of the South, Disney CEO Michael Eisner suggested naming Splash Mountain after the movie Splash, starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. This was a new movie and at the time his idea was to name the ride after the film in order to promote it. It’s up for debate if this title increased the film’s ticket sales, but the name stuck, in contrast to its working title, “Zip-A-Dee River Run.”

You May Recognize Some Voices

You may recognize many of the voices of the characters in Splash Mountain! Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox and Magic Kingdom are voiced by Jess Harnell. Jess Harnell has voices many characters from Wakko Warner on Animaniacts to Autobot in Transformers. He is also the voice of the father singing in Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress from 1994 to 1996!

Nick Stewart Voices Br’er Bear, who is also an original actor on Song of the South. Nick Stewart also played small roles in the show Mr. Ed and voiced one of the crows I Dumbo.

Br’er Fox at Disneyland is voiced by J.D. Hall, who is known for roles I movies such as Fatal Attraction, Father of the Bride, and The Scorpion King 3. J.D. Hall has played in numerous T.V. shows and films over the years and is even in the Splash Mountain Video Game.

Splash Mountain Delayed Its Opening Because Executives Got Too Wet!

Would you ride Splash Mountain if you were drenched each time? (photos by VIAVAL / depositphotos.com)

You read that correctly! Testing the attraction in Disneyland, executives got drenched upon the final plunge of the ride. Florida Guests would probably find the abundance of water refreshing in 100-degree heat, but not the Guests in Anaheim, where the weather drops to the 60s in the winter!

Executives didn’t want Guests to say no to a ride because they would get soaked. Yet, the ride took almost a million gallons of water to operate, so the task seemed impossible. (Can you imagine how long it takes to refill the river during a refurbishment?) After months of adjustments, Imagineers redesigned the boats and diverted water to spray to the sides rather than straight up.

Don’t worry, Guests who opt to sit in the front row will surely get cooled down! If you happen to get lucky and not get wet from the drop, there are waterfalls at the end of the ride you can possibly get soaked from as well!

Splash Mountain had a T.V. Special

Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain was a television special that aired in 1989 to celebrate the opening! This helped to promote the attraction and was a great way to let guests get a sneak peak of the ride. You can still watch this short special om YouTube!

Each Splash Mountain Across the World Is Different

Splash Mountain at Disneyland was such a success it was brought to two other Disney Theme Parks, Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Disney Tokyo. Splash Mountain opened at the Magic Kingdom October 2, 1992, and Tokyo Disney October 1, 1992, only one day apart!

While the Splash Mountains at Walt Disney World and Tokyo are based on California’s version, they all have different ride lengths and amounts of drops. Tokyo’s is the longest log flume ride, and Magic Kingdom’s has 5 drops, taking the lead.

Each of the three rides begins with indoor log ride, going through different scenes from the movie. As you ride along you will see Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear try to catch Br’er Rabbit. At the end of each of the rides they all take you down a drop right into the “briar patch” at the bottom. Each ride is a little different, but they still have the same amount of thrill! The plummet at the end of each attraction is 52.5 feet, though! 

It Has One of the Largest Props on Property

Even after the final drop, there’s still more to see on Splash Mountain in Walt Disney World! The Zip-A-Dee Lady welcomes Guests with a chorus of 22 animatronics singing Song of the South’s most famous song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”This ship is an astonishing 36 feet wide and 22 feet tall, making it one of the largest props at Walt Disney World.

New Changes Are Being Made

In June 2020 Disney announced the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom attractions would be changing. Disney Imagineers will be re-theming the ride after the 2009 movie The Princess and the Frog. Disney started the development of the project in 2019, after many executives had wanted to end ties with the movie Song of the South.

 Disney has announced the re-theming project will have Walt Disney Imagineer Charita Carter as the lead on the project. Tony Baxter, the original Splash Mountain Creator will also come back as a creative advisor! Disney has not announced when the new project will be complete, with the pandemic going on it has slowed down the process, but when it does open, we are sure it will be true to Disney Theming and a ride you won’t want to miss!

Hidden Mickeys

While waiting in line see if you can find some hidden Mickeys (photos by VIAVAL / depositphotos.com)

A classic attraction isn’t complete without Hidden Mickeys! Right near a picnic basket, three red fishing bobbers form a Hidden Mickey! There is also a Hidden Mickey on a barrel right before you start going up to the flume. You have to look fast for the final one I’m about to mention. As you approach the top of the mountain for the last drop, you can see that the rocks are shaped in Mickey’s profile! 

Are you ready to book your trip to ride Splash Mountain? This attraction brings many great memories to kids of all ages! Are you looking forward to the re-theming of Splash Mountain to The Princess and The Frog? Let us know in the comments what you are looking forward to seeing with the re-theming!

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